Thursday, 22 February 2018

Egypt looks set to import natural gas from Cyprus, too


What We’re Tracking Today

The US Federal Reserve sees the American economy gaining momentum. Minutes from Janet Yellen’s final meeting as Fed chair shows the US central bank have “marked up their growth forecasts since the previous month, encouraged by firm global growth, supportive financial markets and the potential for US tax cuts to boost the economy more than expected,” the Financial Times reports. That triggered a modest selloff in US markets yesterday, the Wall Street Journal notes, as it “became clearer the Fed might move more aggressively than anticipated later this year” to cut interest rates.” CNBC also has the story, including a blow-by-blow report on what it says was a “confusing” day: traders initially welcomed the Fed news before launching into the selloff.

A Swedish fund says to look at Egypt, Pakistan and Vietnam if you want to understand why frontier markets are starting to outshine emerging markets. Egyptian, Vietnamese and Pakistani equities make up almost 60% of the holdings of Tundra Sustainable Frontier Fund, which oversees USD 400 mn in assets and has had returns of 6.8% this year, beating 97% of its peers, according to Bloomberg. “These more exotic markets tend to hold up better than developing-nation stocks during market meltdowns as they’re still dominated by local investors,” the firm’s CEO Jon Scheiber said. Egypt was being held back policy-wise, but the country has political stability now and is back in an IMF program, Vice-CIO Shamoon Tariq said on why Egypt is one of the firm’s top picks.

The fund’s strategy is anchored in a shifting trend: The MSCI Frontier Market Index didn’t fall as much as the MSCI Emerging Markets Index as global equities plunged his month. The frontier gauge declined 6%, while the EMs gauge fell 10%. EMs had traditionally been beating out frontiers over the past decade.

Speaking of the frontier: Kenya has followed Egypt’s lead to EM bond markets, raising USD 2 bn in long-dated bonds just hours after the IMF froze access to a USD 1.5 bn standby credit facility because the East African nation had failed to meet certain conditions. Kenya priced a 10-year, USD 1 bn at 7.25%, while its USD 1 bn 30-year tranche was priced at 8.25%. Reuters and the Financial Times have the story

Egyptian squash champions continue to make us proud: Wesleyan University senior Laila Samy was awarded on Sunday the College Squash Association’s prestigious 2018 Betty Richey Award, marking the first time for the honor to be given to a player not enrolled in an Ivy League school or Trinity College. “The award is given to the women’s college squash player who best exemplifies the ideals of squash in her love and devotion to the game, her strong sense of fairness, and her excellence of play and leadership.”

The most-clicked stories in Enterprise this week included:

  • The Ice Cream Wars (BBC, Enterprise’s Documentary Pic of the Week, runtime: 36:33)
  • Egypt’s ranking on Bloomberg’s “Misery Index” improves—a bit. (Bloomberg)
  • What teenagers are learning from online [redacted]. (New York Times)
  • Woman in Upper Egypt chases down, beats the daylights out of her harasser (YouTube)
  • Airliner’s engine comes apart in mid-flight, and a Google employee recorded it. (Twitter video)

On The Horizon

Our friends at EFG Hermes are hosting their 14th annual One on One Conference in Dubai on Monday, 5 March. The three-day event is the largest investor conference globally focused on frontier and emerging markets and will bring together some 175 companies for discussions on what a year of shifting benchmarks — including oil production cuts and the prospect of US interest rate hikes — mean for emerging frontier markets.

Egypt’s Emirates NBI PMI reading for February will be announced on Monday, 5 March.

Enterprise+: Last Night’s Talk Shows

The nation’s talking heads were still discussing natural gas last night, with the exception of Lamees Al Hadidi, who dedicated her Wednesday episode to the CIB-sponsored Hona Al Shabab competition.

ECO Energy received a EGP 100k prize from CIB for coming out on top on last night’s episode. Two other startups, Sigma Fit and Zero Prime, had participated in the the CIB-sponsored competition (watch, runtime 4:40)

Over on Kol Youm, Amr Adib discussed Cyprus’ announcement that it is close to signing an agreement to sell natural gas to Egypt, saying that it will structured along the same lines as Dolphinus Holdings’ USD 15 bn pact to import natural gas from Israel. He boisterously explained to the viewing public that natural gas from both Cyprus and Israel will be liquefied for use here in Egypt or for re-export (watch, runtime 3:31).

Osama Kamal also broke down the agreement on Masaa DMC (watch, runtime 0:52), while Al Hayah Al Youm’s Nahawand Serry hosted petroleum engineering professor Gamal El Kaliouby, who urged the House of Representatives to sign off on the agreement. Serry also hosted Rep. Mohamed Attia of the House Energy Committee, who backed the agreement and said they are entirely permissible under existing legislation (watch, runtime 40:18).

Serry also hosted New and Renewable Energy Authority deputy Ihab Ismail, who said that around 70% of total FDI in Egypt is in the renewable energy sector, adding that projects in the field have created some 13,000 jobs (watch, runtime 28:13).

But back on Kol Youm, Adib criticized the slow pace at which Egypt has been drawing in investments, stressing that bureaucracy and red tape are still warding off potential investors (watch, runtime 6:08).

He then jumped into dissecting the Armed Forces’ latest statement on its extensive anti-terror operation in Sinai. He told his viewers that the military found, among other things, jihadi broadcasting equipment (watch, runtime 4:57). He also discussed the Interior Ministry’s statement from yesterday about the arrest of alleged members of the Ikhwan at a farm believed to belong ex-presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, which we cover in Politics + Economics, below (watch, runtime 3:23).

Kamal also discussed the military’s Sinai campaign (watch, runtime 2:30) and the latest developments in the Aboul Fotouh case, saying that weapons and ammunition were allegedly found on the farm in question (watch, runtime 3:14).

He then phoned the head of the House Housing Committee, Rep. Moataz Mahmoud, to discuss ongoing debate in the House of legislation that would allow the state to reach settlement agreements with the owners of buildings built without permits and / or in violation of the building code. Also up for discussion was the Unified Building Code. Mahmoud said around 1.8 mn buildings are in violation of existing laws and that reconciliation would earn state coffers c. EGP 72 bn (watch, runtime 16:17).

Speed Round

Speed Round is presented in association with

Cyprus is nearing an agreement to sell natural gas to Egypt, Bloomberg reports. This would follow the agreement with Israel and would include supplies from the Aphrodite field. “Cyprus is close to selling natural gas to Egypt’s liquefied natural gas plants, and we could reach an agreement in the coming weeks,” Energy Minister Georgios Lakkotrypis said. “This is basically the moment when, finally, all the talk about turning Egypt into a regional gas hub is finally coming true,” Riccardo Fabiani, senior Mideast analyst for Eurasia Group, said. Wood Mackenzie analyst Stephen Fullerton agrees, saying “there’s currently a lot of exploration going on in Cypriot waters, and it is likely more gas will be discovered … Any further discoveries will be looking for an export route, with Egypt a potential option.” Reuters also has the story.

Credit where due: The agreement with Cyprus is a testament to good diplomacy, as successive governments under the Sisi administration have made relations with our northern neighbor a priority.

…A USD 15 bn import agreement with Israel announced earlier in the week will help transform Egypt into a regional energy hub, President El Sisi said yesterday, according to Bloomberg. “We have scored a goal … I’ve been dreaming about it for four years, that we become a regional hub for energy,” he said. Probably with an eye on Cyprus, El Sisi also said “all the gas coming from around the region will come to us … It’s either re-exported to other countries or we use it locally.” The Associated Press also covered El Sisi’s comments, as did Ahram Online.

IPO WATCH- Enppi’s IPO will take place at the end of the year: The listing of state energy firm Enppi will take place towards the end of the year, said CEO Mohamed Hathoot. He tells Al Borsa that the company now is working on listing procedures with NI Capital. A number of people involved in the transaction, including the Chairman of CI Capital, which advising on the transaction, has said the ministerial committee supervising the state IPO program has given the green light to the share sale. Investment Minister Sahar Nasr had previously said that Enppi’s IPO will take place in 1Q2018.

Gov’t looking to add more companies to the roster of state-owned firms they plan to list: It looks like the delays in getting the state IPO program started have not dampened enthusiasm for expanding the number of companies that will list. National Investment Bank managing director Mahmoud Montasser says that his list of candidates includes 10-15 companies. Meanwhile, Transportation Minister Hisham Arafat tells Al Mal that two of the ministry’s subsidiaries will join the program. He did not name the companies, but said they were construction companies. The ministry had said that it has plans for Alexandria Container & Cargo Handling and Damietta Container & Cargo Handling Company to be part of the IPO program. Other sources speaking to the newspaper say that the General Nile Company for Road Construction and the General Nile Company for Desert Roads are on the list.

IPO WATCH- Unionaire Group has also reportedly pushed back its initial public offering plan to 2H2018 after having originally said the transaction would take place in 1H2018, sources close to the company say, according to Al Mal. The company is apparently still studying the alternatives to an IPO, including through a capital increase, the sources say.

Qalaa’s Egyptian Refining Company completes financial restructuring as it drives to completion: Qalaa Holdings subsidiary Egyptian Refining Company (ERC) has reportedly completed a project finance restructuring that has seen the company take on new loans and equity commitments valued at around USD 500 mn, according to a press release from law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which advised on the transaction. This would bring the overall cost of construction of ERC’s refinery to USD 4.5 bn, according to the release, which ran in the Global Legal Chronicle. The restructuring came as part of an agreement with construction partners GS Engineering of Korea and Mitsui of Japan that will “allow construction to move forwards.” The 4.2 mn tonne-capacity refinery, which will produce up to 3 mn tonnes of diesel and fuel, was 95.7% complete at the beginning of this year, according to a previous statement by Qalaa Holdings Co-Founder and Managing Director Hisham El Khazindar.

Egypt has become the world’s largest importer of Russian food products, outpacing China, Russia’s Export Center said, RT reports. According to the center’s statistics, Egypt imported USD 1.73 bn worth of Russian products in 2017, marking a 44% y-o-y growth, Pravda says. “For comparison, China’s food imports from Russia amounted to USD 1.71 bn having increased by eleven percent vs. the previous year.” Wheat alone accounts for around 82% of Egypt’s imports from Russia, and Egypt may soon become a profitable destination for Russian poultry. Can you now please send us your tourists?

EARNINGS WATCH- Orange Egypt reported a consolidated net loss of EGP 1.65 bn in FY2017, down 35.5% y-o-y from EGP 2.55 bn the previous year, the company said in an EGX filing (pdf). Consolidated revenues for the year rose 7.5% y-o-y to EGP 12.68 bn, up from EGP 11.79 bn. The company says (pdf) it racked up two consecutive years of losses in part thanks to last year’s 600 bps interest rate hike, which drove up financing costs. Rising fuel and electricity prices, systemic inflation and the cost of importing network infrastructure after the float of the EGP also contributed to the losses, it said. The company suggests the tide is turning this year, particularly as it wins more clients clients with its 4G offering.

Orange is now also reportedly in talks with 14 local banks for an EGP 7 bn loan to consolidate its existing debt and finance its expansion plan in Egypt, unidentified sources tell Al Mal. The lending syndicate includes CIB, the National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, HSBC, AAIB, and QNB Al Ahli, among others.

Oil Ministry gets even nicer with industry with a new debt-rescheduling initiative: The Oil Ministry has approved a new initiative which would reschedule payments owed by manufacturers in arrears to state-owned natural gas providers, said minister Tarek El Molla in a statement on Wednesday (pdf). Businesses with overdue payments for gas they consumed in excess of their contracted annual amounts will be allowed to pay the ministry in installments over a five-year period. Interest payments to the ministry could be eliminated entirely if they pay the ministry back immediately. Interest payments would be reduced 80% for those who make full payment in the first year.

The move is part of a series of incentives and debt-relief measures announced this week that are meant to encourage investment in industry, but which also appease manufacturers who have been calling for gas prices to be reduced. Other measures announced include eliminating a 2.5% surcharge on manufacturers’ overdue bills to EGAS and setting a lower insurance fee that requires producers to pay a deposit covering 30 rather than 60 days of consumption.

Electricity Ministry postpones subsidy elimination to FY2020-2021, but bill will still go up in July: The Electricity Ministry is planning to delay the full elimination of subsidies on power bills to FY2020-2021 from FY2019-2020 as had been originally planned, Minister Mohamed Shaker announced yesterday, Al Shorouk reports. Electricity prices will rise in July as planned, Shaker added. The minister had said earlier this month that Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Agency (Egyptera) officials were already working on a new pricing formula that is likely to consumers across all use tiers. Sources had also said that the lowest consumption tier would see their bills rise by 15% at most.

New FiT for consumers in the works? July will also see the ministry announce a new feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme meant to encourage consumers themselves to install solar panels and sell electricity to the state at a “reasonable price,” according to Shaker.

Government to announce winners of PPP schools tender next week: The Ismail government plans to announce next week the winners of its tender for the development and management of 200 schools under public-private partnership contracts, sources close to the matter tell Al Borsa. The committee tasked with reviewing the bids has already accepted four technical offers for the development of 24 schools in different governorates from companies, including Egypt’s El Gazeera and the Middle East Education Services Group. A bid from Saudi Arabia’s Madinat Al Oloum is one of five still under consideration, the sources add. We had noted back in October last year that a number of major players had backed out of the project, including arms of Orascom Construction, BPE Partners and the now-struggling Carillion.

MOVES- Our friends at Pharos Holding have appointed Ahmed Yehia El Ashi as the new managing director for fixed income at the firm’s asset management division, according to a company statement (pdf). El Ashi, a banking veteran with more than 17 years of experience in asset management and commercial banking under his belt, previously headed Rasmala Egypt’s fixed income division.

That comes as Pharos has been named best Egyptian investment bank in Global Finance’s annual survey of the World’s Best Investment Banks (pdf). “Being named the Best Investment Bank underpins our goals,” Pharos Chairman and CEO Elwy Taymour said in a press release (pdf). “Pharos Holding has evolved and expanded rapidly and today we take pride in the success the company has achieved and in the recognition internationally of our success which this award helps to highlight.”

MOVES- Keith Lee has been appointed as Huawei Egypt’s Operations Manager, succeeding George Lee, who had held the position since 2015, Al Mal reports. Keith has been with the company for years, during which he held leading positions in sales, retail, and other departments. He also worked in the company’s office in Saudi Arabia.

Baker McKenzie Egypt sees growth potential in the resolution of sports disputes, Managing Partner Mohamed Talaat says in a sit-down with Al Borsa to take a look at what to expect of 2018. Talaat said he sees investment in Egypt picking up this year as economic conditions continue to improve, with various global firms and funds expected to enter the market during the year. He added that food industries have been gaining a lot of traction and interest, as have power, real estate, and tourism.

Our friends at EGX-listed GB Auto were named best automotive distributor in Egypt at Business Today’s bt100 awards ceremony on Monday, Youm7 reports.


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Image of the Day

Russian photographer Vitaly Istomin captured stunning images of the Northern Lights, showing just how bright and green they can get, and even break to form a rainbow. You can view the full album here, courtesy of Yahoo.

Egypt in the News

It’s all miscellany on a blissfully quiet news day for Egypt in the international press. Among the highlights and lowlights:

“The [recently enacted] bankruptcy law improves the safe legislative environment for investors. But the Egyptian government still has to get rid of the bureaucratic measures that have become entrenched in the administrative structure of the state,” Rep. Bassant Fahmy tells Al-Monitor.

The battle to get more women on the bench is one that has been waged for 70 years with very little to show in the way of results, writes Sonia Farid in Al Arabiya.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the detention and subsequent disappearance of Egyptian journalist Moataz Wadnan. profiled Egyptian footballer Ahmed Elmohamady, who says the last five minutes in Egypt’s qualifier against Congo were “the most difficult five minutes” of his career.

“It’s criminal to go to Cairo and not see the Giza pyramids,” Francis Tapon writes in Forbes, also urging visitors to Egypt to explore beyond just the Giza pyramids.

British police have dropped their investigation into how citizen Laura Plummer obtained the meds that landed her in an Egyptian prison, citing “insufficient evidence,” The Sun reports.

UNHCR highlights the efforts made to educate the 52,000 refugee children in Egypt through a profile in on the Thomson Reuters Foundation website of Nousa Sleiman, a Sudanese refugee pursuing her education in Egypt.

Egyptian-born film student Amr Moustafa’s film ‘When We Listen’ is being featured at the Central Alberta Film Festival, Sylvan Lakes News report.

On Deadline

Some media outlets are playing up the same tired old anti-Israel schtick in a (lame) bid to turn the public against the USD 15 bn Israel gas import agreement, the anonymous columnist writing as Newton says in Al Masry Al Youm. He argues that Qatari and Turkish media in particular are working overtime to manipulate public opinion in Egypt.

Worth Watching

GERD in VR? The BBC may have just served up the coolest way to explore the politics of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). In a two-part virtual reality documentary, the BBC explores the River Nile and how the Ethiopian project is a threat to the power balance between Addis Ababa, Khartoum, and Cairo. “On assignment with the BBC’s Africa correspondent and his team, you’ll fly high above the river and its waterfalls and inspect the dam up close, before meeting … people in cafes and each country’s ministers.” You can watch Part One here (runtime 13:33) and Part Two here (runtime 16:05).

Diplomacy + Foreign Trade

The Iraqi government is studying the possibility of constructing an oil pipeline that would connect it to Egypt via Jordan, Baghdad’s ambassador to Cairo Habib Al-Sadr said yesterday, without elaborating, Al Ahram reports. Sources said last month that Egypt had renewed an agreement to import 12 mn bbl of Iraqi crude this year.

Agricultural Quarantine delegation to visit KSA to discuss lifting ban on Egyptian imports: Officials from Egypt’s Agricultural Quarantine Authority (AQA) and Agricultural Export Council (AEC) are heading to Saudi on 7 March to negotiate with authorities over lifting the Kingdom’s ban on Egyptian crops, AQA boss Ahmed Kamal El Attar tells Al Shorouk. A Saudi delegation is also expected to in Cairo in early March to inspect quality control measures on exported goods. Saudi Arabia had banned imports of Egyptian strawberries, Guava, and peppers over concerns of residual pesticides, prompting several other GCC countries to follow suit. The Agriculture Ministry has since moved to impose stricter regulations on agricultural exports to the GCC.

Inspectors from New Zealand will also be paying us a visit to examine food safety regulations and quality control measures before making a decision on allowing dairy imports. The Agriculture Ministry is in talks with New Zealand’s, Deputy Agriculture Minister Mona Mehrez says, according to Al Borsa.

Egypt and Japan signed yesterday a USD 175.7 mn loan agreement to finance the construction of schools in Egypt that operate using Japanese curricula, Youm7 reports. The schools had pushed their inaugural semester for a year from last fall. 22 out of a planned 45 schools are expected to be ready for September. The agreement followed a meeting between President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) head Shinichi Kitaoka yesterday.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail met with Azerbaijan’s Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev in Cairo yesterday for talks that centered around boosting economic ties and resuming direct air travel, according to Al Mal. Mustafayev also met with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss increasing Azerbaijani investments in oil and gas, as well as national and infrastructure projects.

A delegation of more than 25 Belgian companies will visit Cairo in March to explore potential investment in different industrial sectors, Al Shorouk reports. The delegation will also be looking to provide platforms for exports to Europe.

Chad has restored its diplomatic relations with Qatar six months after having cut ties with Doha as part of the Qatar boycotts initiated by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, Reuters reports.

Egypt “suddenly” shut down the Rafah border crossing yesterday shortly after it was opened to allow Palestinians through to Gaza, the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo said late last night in a statement carried by Al Masry Al Youm. The crossing was set to be open for four days. Thousands of Gazans had been waiting to cross, The Guardian notes.


Elsewedy secures USD 18.35 mn Kuwaiti project

An Elsewedy Electric subsidiary signed a KWD 5.5 mn (USD 18.35 mn) in Kuwait, according to a company disclosure. The company will implement work on street lights with central control in a 24-month project.

Electricity Ministry to establish 20 nationwide control centers by end of 2018

The Electricity Ministry is reviewing offers to establish 20 electricity transmission control centers across the country by the end of 2018, Minister Mohamed Shaker said yesterday, according to Al Shorouk.

Basic Materials + Commodities

Katilo to invest EGP 120 mn in New Damietta cheese factory

Dairy manufacturer Katilo is building an EGP 120 mn cheese factory in New Damietta, Chairman Abdel Moneim Katilo tells Al Borsa. The project will price an annual 12,000 tonnes of cheese, once it’s complete in four months’ time, most of which will be earmarked for export, he says.

Raya Holding partners with Italy’s UVCC for USD 70 mn agricultural products factory in Uganda

Raya Holding is partnering with Italy’s UVCC to establish a USD 70 mn food production facility in Uganda, Raya CFO Hossam Hussein tells Al Mal. The two companies will form a new joint venture, to which Raya will contribute 24% of the capital — USD 24 mn — of which USD 6 mn will come from its own resources, while the rest will be funded through an Africa Development Bank loan, Hussein said. Raya had announced last month it was looking to acquire a minority stake of no more than 25% in the project.

Egypt’s cotton exports drop 36.7% y-o-y in 1Q2017-18

Egypt’s cotton exports dropped 36.7% y-o-y in 1Q2017-18 to 128,300 qintars, down from 202,500 qintars during the same period last year, according to CAPMAS statistics carried by Al Masry Al Youm. The decline in exports is a direct result of the previous season’s reduced cultivation area, according to the state census bureau.

GASC purchases 120k tonnes of Russian wheat

The General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) purchased 120k tonnes of Russian wheat at USD 223.5 per tonne on Wednesday, according to Reuters’ Arabic service. The price includes shipping fees and the amount will be delivered in two shipments of 60,000 tonnes each.

Real Estate + Housing

Madbouly gives Maspero residents an ultimatum to relocate

Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly issued yesterday an ultimatum to Maspero Triangle residents who have refused to relocate from their homes, causing delays in a redevelopment plan for the area, Al Masry Al Youm reports. Madbouly told the residents during a meeting yesterday that this is their “last chance” to either agree to permanently relocate to 6 October City or temporarily move out of the area until work is complete. Those who fail to do either will be evicted from their homes and will receive monetary compensation from the government, according to the minister. The Informal Settlement Development Fund had allocated EGP 1.3 bn last year to compensate the residents.


EgyptAir working on resuming flights with Benghazi, launching new route to Hong Kong

EgyptAir is working on resuming flights between Cairo and Benghazi and starting new routes to Hong Kong and an undisclosed African city, Chairman Safwat Musallam tells Ahram Gate. The airline has been growing its fleet and is set to receive the first of a dozen planes from an agreement with Bombardier between November 2018 and January 2019. Previous reports on the self-financed purchase had said delivery of the first unit would be in March.

Tourism Ministry considers SAR 2,000 fee as part of new Umra regulations

The Tourism Ministry is considering imposing a SAR 2,000 (c. EGP 10,000) fee on umra requests this season for anyone who has performed the smaller of the two Muslim pilgrimages in the last three years, Al Shorouk reports. The news caused a stir among tour operators, who said the fee was too high and would be detrimental for demand. The decision, however, is not final and still under study, the ministry’s Religious Tourism Committee chair Hisham Amin said, explaining that new regulations will in fact prioritize first timers and those who haven’t been in more than three years.

Banking + Finance

CI concludes sale of QNB shares on EGX

CI Capital concluded yesterday the sale of 2.125% of the Qatar National Bank’s (QNB) stake in its Egyptian unit QNB-Al Ahli, sources tell Al Mal. The sale, which reduced the bank’s stake to 95% from 97.125%, was necessary for QNB-Al Ahli to comply with new EGX regulations that require at least 5% of a listed company’s share to be floating. A QNB spokesman said earlier this week that the bank had no current plans to further reduce its stake.

Other Business News of Note

EMPC grants Al Hokair Group rights to redevelop Magic Land

The Egyptian Media Production City’s board of directors has agreed to grant Saudi Arabia’s Al Hokair Group the rights to redevelop and manage Magic Land under a 30-year license, according to a company disclosure (pdf). Al Hokair will invest a minimum of USD 30 mn over the 30 years in the project. The agreement will also see Al Hokair pay EGP 12 mn per annum for the rights, and redevelop the park under a build-operate-transfer framework.

Legislation + Policy

Housing Committee will not approve three-month legislation on settling building violations

Members of parliament’s Housing Committee have agreed that the government’s proposed three-month legislation to settle building code violations cannot pass without the Unified Building Code amendments, Al Masry Al Youm reports. At a meeting on Wednesday, the committee agreed that both laws would have to pass together as they are too closely intertwined and complement each other. Furthermore, MPs including Ahmed El Seggeny, also fear that the law would not have any teeth as it would only be for a three-month period. Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly had said that the limited timeframe was meant to close existing regulatory loopholes.

Egypt Politics + Economics

Authorities arrest six suspected Ikhwan members on Aboul Fotouh’s farm

Police have arrested six alleged members of the Ikhwan in a Beheira farm that is believed to belong to ex-Islamist presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, the Interior Ministry said in a statement yesterday. Aboul Fotouh was put on a terrorism list on Tuesday following his arrest for questioning on alleged contacts with the Ikhwan. The Associated Press and Sputnik also have the story.

Court sentences five to death over Wadi El Natrun land dispute that left 15 dead

The Damanhour Criminal Court upheld yesterday death sentences against five defendants and jailed six others for life after finding them guilty of killing 15 people in a dispute over land in the area in 2008 that had left 15 people dead, Al Shorouk reports.

Supreme Administrative Court rejects lawsuit to invalidate Moussa’s presidential bid

The Supreme Administrative Court rejected yesterday a lawsuit to invalidate Moussa Moustafa Moussa’s presidential bid, Al Shorouk reports. The lawsuit had claimed that Moussa did not receive a college degree, rendering his candidacy unconstitutional. The nominee previously said that he attended a university in France, where he received a degree in engineering.


Amr Warda assaulted in Greece

National team player Amr Warda was attacked by two men carrying a knife and a gun in Greece, according to Al Shorouk. Warda plays for the Atromitos FC in Athens, which has a history of violence against football players by rival fans.

On Your Way Out

New USAID-sponsored solar power classes launch in Aswan: A vocational high school in Benban has begun offering classes on solar power under the USAID-funded Workforce Improvement and Skills Enhancement (WISE) project, Al Masry Al Youm reports. The project aims to introduce more classes to prepare vocational students for work at the 1.5 GW Benban solar power complex.

The Market Yesterday

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EGP / USD CBE market average: Buy 17.64 | Sell 17.74
Buy 17.62 | Sell 17.72
EGP / USD at NBE: Buy 17.59 | Sell 17.69

EGX30 (Wednesday): 15,245 (+0.2%)
Turnover: EGP 1.9 bn (67% ABOVE the 90-day average)
EGX 30 year-to-date: +1.5%

THE MARKET ON WEDNESDAY: The EGX30 ended Wednesday’s session up 0.2%. CIB, the index heaviest constituent closed up 2.3%. EGX30’s top performing constituents were Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank up 3.2%; Porto Group up 3.1%; and CIB up 2.3%. Today’s worst performing stocks were GB Auto down 7.6%; Ezz Steel down 4.3%; and Abu Qir Fertilizers down 3.5%. The market turnover was EGP 1.9 bn.

Retail: 35.0% of total trades | 36.6% of buyers | 33.3% of sellers
Institutions: 65.0% of total trades | 63.4% of buyers | 66.7% of sellers

Foreign: 33.7% of total | 52.1% of buyers | 15.2% of sellers
Regional: 26.7% of total | 6.7% of buyers | 46.8% of sellers
Domestic: 39.6% of total | 41.2% of buyers | 38.0% of sellers

WTI: USD 61.12 (-1.08%)
Brent: USD 64.98 (-0.41%)

Natural Gas (Nymex, futures prices) USD 2.65 MMBtu, (+1.41%, MAR 2018 contract)
Gold: USD 1,326.4 / troy ounce (-0.36%)

TASI: 7,505.62 (-0.01%) (YTD: +3.87%)
ADX: 4,583.67 (+0.13%) (YTD: +4.21%)
DFM: 3,285.64 (+0.47%) (YTD: -2.51%)
KSE Weighted Index: 408.55 (+0.13%) (YTD: +1.78%)
QE: 9,119.01 (+0.22%) (YTD: +6.99%)
MSM: 4,987.37 (-0.26%) (YTD: -2.19%)
BB: 1,351.66 (+0.53%) (YTD: +1.5%)

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05 March (Monday): Egypt’s PMI reading for February released.

05-07 March (Monday-Wednesday): EFG Hermes’ One on One Conference 2018, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, UAE.

07-11 March (Wednesday-Sunday): ITB Berlin Convention, Berlin, Germany.

28-31 March 2018 (Thursday-Sunday): Cityscape Egypt, Cairo International Convention Centre, Cairo.

08 April (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

09 April (Monday): Sham El Nessim, national holiday.

24-25 April (Tuesday-Wednesday): Renaissance Capital’s 3rd Annual Egypt Investor Conference, Cape Town, South Africa.

25 April (Wednesday): Sinai Liberation Day, national holiday.

01 May (Tuesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

02-03 May (Wednesday-Thursday): Cisco Connect Egypt 2018, Nile Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo.

4-6 May 2018 (Friday-Sunday): International Conference on Network Technology (ICNT 2018), venue TBD, Cairo.

15 May (Tuesday): Expected date for the start of Ramadan (TBC).

15-17 June (Friday-Sunday): Eid Al Fitr (TBC), national holiday (Look for possible Monday off given the first day falls on a Friday).

21-25 August (Tuesday-Saturday): Eid Al Adha (TBC), national holiday.

11 September (Tuesday): Islamic New Year (TBC), national holiday.

06 October (Saturday): Armed Forces Day, national holiday.

20 November (Tuesday): Prophet’s Birthday (TBC), national holiday.

22 November (Thursday): US Thanksgiving.

25 December (Tuesday): Western Christmas.

01 January 2019 (Tuesday): New Year’s Day, national holiday.

07 January 2019 (Monday): Coptic Christmas.

25 January 2019 (Friday): Police Day, national holiday.

25 April 2019 (Thursday): Sinai Liberation day, national holiday.

28 April 2019 (Sunday): Easter Sunday, national holiday.

29 April 2019 (Monday): Easter Monday, national holiday.

01 May 2019 (Wednesday): Labor Day, national holiday.

06 May 2019 (Monday): First day of Ramadan (TBC).

05-06 June 2019 (Wednesday-Thursday): Eid El Fitr (TBC).

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